Chapter 11: Unravelling Dynamics in Inter-Container Port Relationships through an Examination of Liner Service Patterns
11 Unravelling dynamics in inter-container port relationships through an examination of liner service patterns Wei Yim Yap and Theo E. Notteboom 1 Introduction Container shipping plays a key role in the modern global economic system. The bulk of trade in containerised cargoes is transported by container shipping services which carried some 1.24 billion tonnes or 129 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in 2007 (Clarkson Research Services, 2008: 11 and 101). Global port throughput reached 466 million TEU in the same year and is expected to top 0.5 billion TEU in 2008. To support this trade, 10.5 million TEU of container vessel capacity were deployed in over 2,000 container shipping services (Informa Plc, 2007: 222–364). These services called at more than 500 ports around the world and provide opportunities for economies to engage in world trade. Every service is operated by at least one shipping line which deployed at least one vessel to call at a minimum of two ports. The diversity of these services ranged from a single 24 TEU vessel operated by Valfajre Eight which called at the ports of Bushehr in Iran and Doha in Qatar with an annualised slot capacity of 580 TEU to the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s Silk Express which operates between North-West Europe and the Far East utilising nine fully cellular vessels totalling 82,466 TEU with an annualised slot capacity of 476,500 TEU that called at various ports in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South-East Asia and East Asia...
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